APC Vs. CROSIEC: Court Dismisses CROSIEC’s Objection

The attempt in court by the All Progressive Congress, APC, to nullify the decision of the Cross River State Independent Electoral Commission, CROSEIC, declaring her ineligible to contest the forthcoming Local Government Council Elections in the Cross River State fixed for the September 21, 2013, continued in the High Court, Calabar, today.

The case brought before the Honourable Justice Ofem Ikpi Ofem, the vacation judge, sought to clarify whether or not the 1st Defendant (CROSEIC) was served with the originating summons and other processes filed by the APC.
Scales of Justice
Counsel to CROSEIC, Barrister Ikoi Ikona had raised an objection to the suit filed by APC on the grounds of non service of the originating processes, submitting that CROSEIC was not properly served because the bailiff did not serve the processes on the Secretary of CROSEIC as provided by Law. Ikona said that the bailiff merely dumped the processes in the Security post at the Head Office of CROSEIC, adding that dumping of the process in the security post is not good service.

In their reply , the APC legal team comprising, Barristers Matthew Ojua, Okoi Obono-Obla;, Chinenye Ugochukwu and Ibiang Mgbe, submitted that CROSEIC was served with the processes on the 29th of August, 2013. They submitted that the bailiff was compelled to dump the processes meant for service on CROSEIC in its security post since the Secretary of CROSEIC had bluntly refused to collect them. Ojua said the Secretary rather ordered the security to walk the bailiff out of the premises and locked the gate against him, submitting finally that the bailiff’s affidavit of proof of service is the best evidence the Court should rely on to establish whether or not CROSEIC was indeed served.

In his ruling, Justice Ofem held that from the bailiff affidavit of proof of service filed on the 29/8/2013, CROSEIC was served on the 29/8/2013. He further held that in the face of hostilities and difficulties encountered by the court bailiff in effecting service on CROSEIC, the dumping of the processes meant for service on CROSEIC on it security gate was proper and good service on CROSEIC . The judge therefore dismissed the objection and ordered CROSEIC to file it defence and adjourned the case to 12th of September, 2013 for hearing.

In another matter, the Court granted the application of APC that Suit No.HC /305/2013 be heard during the legal vacation. APC in that suit is seeking for extension of time for the Party to fill candidates for the scheduled Local Government Elections in order to accommodate it , based on the fact that it was registered on 31/7/2013. The case has also been adjourned to 12/9/2013 for continuation.

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